Senior Spotlight Wisdom from the Editor

Standing on the precipice of the future. It’s not a distant reality, it begins right here, right now for students of Middle Park High School graduating class of 2018.

We all began high school as children, and most of us left as adults.  We took our diplomas and early life experiences and marched forward into the future. Some of us went on to college, others went straight into the workforce, but each of us travels a path of our own.  That is what makes this moment in time so exciting!

No matter where we go or what we do, there are challenges ahead for all of us. The best advice we can give our kids or each other for that matter, is to meet those challenges straight on with your head held high and your heart wide open. It’s not enough to simply try to get by in life. That doesn’t move the world forward. You must try to excel in everything you do; strive for excellence in every task, large or small.

Although it may not be easy to see, every accomplishment you achieve is added to the world’s accomplishments. Your individual successes benefit society as a whole because when you succeed, you lighten the burden on your fellow man. When you succeed, you are in a position to give rather than take.

Imagine if every individual lived up to his or her own potential. Think about how amazing that would be, and how much better off the world would be. Now imagine if just half of those individuals lived up to their potential. The world would still be an awesome place. If even 1/4 of those individuals worked to make their lives successful, they could still make some amazing contributions to society.

We may not have the power to inspire the entire world to strive for success, but we do have the power to try to achieve it for ourselves.  A challenge to each of you, and to myself, is to do all that you can do to reach your full potential. If each student in the Middle Park High  School graduating class of 2018 is able to do that, just imagine the effect your class will have on this planet. The future is truly in our hands, so make the most of it.  Best wishes always!

River Lathers

I grew up in Holland and came to America for the first time with my Dad when I was a freshman in High School. No matter how much I love Holland, it is kinda depressing, because it has a lot of rainy days. Colorado is filled with sunshine.  Plus, we love to ski. My favorite run is Drunken Frenchman when it has fresh snow. Last season, I got out about thirty-five times.

America is different and interesting. People here are much more friendly than Europeans.  Everyone speaks to each other and are kind by nature. I have dual citizenship and plan on spending a large portion of life in the states.

This summer is up in the air for me.  I plan to spend time with my Dad and traveling a bit.  In September, I am going on a mission to mentor young African girls in a Village of Mozambique, a country in Southeast Africa on the Indian Ocean.  Our goal is to impart wisdom and our life experience while learning about their lifestyle. I am looking forward to the journey. I want to be a great writer one day and you have to see through the eyes of the world to tell a great story.

French is one of my three languages and I would like to live in France for a period, if it works out.

I get bored in the same place and enjoy diverse cultural experiences. There is nothing I find more interesting than meeting new people and immersing myself in their culture. The world offers so many experiences.  

One of the coolest things I have ever done was traveling to Italy. I did an exchange with Italian students several years ago and I don’t speak italian. My family didn’t speak english very well and the language barrier was challenging and wonderful at the same time.

I loved attending Middle Park High School because the teachers really care. Last week, we were working on commencement speeches as part of a class assignment and everyone had at least one emotional moment. There were tears of joy, happiness and relief.  True heartfelt emotions that are shared by families. We are like a small family and that makes this a special place.

MPHS has some great teachers and it is hard to pick one out but if I had to choose, I would say Mr Reynolds is one of my favorites.  He gave us some great books to read and taught us a lot about writing.

After my life quest this year, I plan to attend college in Colorado. I really love Colorado and would like to go to school at CSU or CU.  I would like to study journalism and political science. I love to ski and want to stay close to the Colorado mountains. The snow in Europe is not very good for the most part.

The one piece of advice I would give high school students is:  If you want something, you should just go for it. Don’t complain about things you could have done. If you want to do something, don’t let others dictate your path.  You have to make life happen the way you want it. A good high school experience starts with you. Find something you love and keep doing it.


Book: A Prayer for Owen Meany

Movies: Almost Famous

Bands: Grateful Dead

Song:  Uncle Johns Band

Animals: Cats

Frenchman on a powder day!

Cole Walker

Growing up in Grand County alongside the same people gave me good friends, good academics, and an awesome environment. I would like to tell my fellow graduates to work towards making their future one worth living. As for the other students, Incoming high schoolers should open their minds to learn and try to find deeper meanings in everything they do. Don’t hesitate to look UP for help, instead of always just looking from within.

I will be attending the University of Colorado – Boulder next year. I have always loved Colorado and I want to continue my journey here. Even though I see myself ending up somewhere else, I did grow up in Colorado and I’m not quite ready to leave it yet. In fifteen years from now, I hope to be married and have my own family. I hope I will have a good job and be living somewhere tropical.

The coolest thing I’ve ever done would be building homes for indigenous families in Guatemala. I went to Guatemala with my Grandfather. We constructed two home and did other evangelistic work while we were there. The houses were completely made of cinder blocks with tin roofs. They were very small. I went to Guatemala because I had always wanted to go on a mission trip. Guatemala really taught me to be thankful for everything I have. Those people were so thankful for such small things, and in America we often take all the things we have for granted.

More than anything, I love spending time with loved ones, which includes family, friends and friends who have become family.


Favorite Animal: Rhino

Favorite Band: Metallica

Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings

Favorite Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Madeline VanBemmelen

One thing I took away from going to school here is to never give up. Even when it seems like you have an endless pile of homework, or no time to study for that all-important test, know that it isn’t the end of the world, don’t give up and that many people have your back. To my classmates I would like to say: Thank you fellow graduates, for teaching me who I am and growing up with me in this beautiful place we get to call home! Congratulations. We did it. To the incoming high Schoolers reading this, I want to advise you all to not stress out too much about school. Challenge yourself, but if something becomes too much, don’t be afraid to step down a little. Relax and enjoy every minute. Because before you know it, you’ll be graduating.

Next year I will be attending the University of Wyoming in order to pursue a major in Nursing and a minor in Spanish culture and language. 15 years from now I see myself working either around the world as a traveling nurse or working in an emergency room as a nurse.

The coolest thing I’ve ever done was a zip line in Costa Rica when we went there on a school trip with our Spanish 3 class. It had the most beautiful view of the forest there and it was such an adrenaline rush! The thing I love to do the most is take my horse out for a trail ride and spend time appreciating beautiful Colorado with him.


Favorite animal: Horse
Favorite band: Def Leppard
Favorite Movie: Coco
Favorite Book: Misery by Stephen King

Bryce Weimer

Living in Grand County and going to a small school with a tight knit group of friends taught me how to be a successful and respectful young man. In short, it taught me how to succeed in life. And for that, I would just love to say: Class of 2018, we’ve made it! I’d also like to give one piece of advice to future high schoolers: Do your work always and have a growth mindset. Don’t think that just because you’re not good at something at first that you should give up, because hard work and dedication makes anything possible. This is what one of our math teachers, Mrs. Reynolds, would always tell us. And no matter how cheesy it may sound, it really helped me and many others.

Next year, I will no longer be a Panther, but instead a Cougar. I will be part of the Minnesota Morris Cougars football team at Minnesota Morris, a small liberal arts college in Minnesota. I chose this school because it had something practical to offer for me. I’m not quite sure yet what the future holds, but in 15 years, I see myself hopefully having a nice home and a wonderful family.

The coolest thing I have ever done is get the chance to play college football. My favorite things to do are playing sports and being active.


Favorite animal: Shark/cheetah
Favorite band: Nickelback
Favorite movie: When the game stands tall

Favorite book: The boy in the striped pajamas

Tanner Neiberger

I took away a lot of things from attending Middle Park High School for four years, but one thing that really stuck out to me was how learning how much the teachers actually care about you. Living in such a small community, we really are all part of a bigger family. To my fellow graduates I would like to say: Well, we’re finally done. Having grown up in the county, now finally after 13 years of school together we will never again have to turn in another paper to Middle Park High School again. Congratulations. To the incoming high schoolers I would like to say: Have fun. It goes by in the blink of an eye.

As for next year, I will not be attending college. Instead I will be working for Grand County EMS as an EMT Basic for 2 to 3 years, after which I will go to Paramedic school.

Honestly, I really can’t tell where I am going to be in 5 years, let alone 15. But I definitely see myself with a wife and a couple of kids running around on a beautiful ranch that I own.

The coolest thing I’ve ever done was riding a bull. And my absolute favorite thing to do would have to be working out on the ranches with the ol’ dad.


Favorite animal: Cow
Favorite band / musician: George Strait
Favorite movie: Let’s Be Cops
Favorite book: Cat In The Hat

Kiyah Woodward

Going to Middle Park High School gifted me with a lifetime full of memories, which sounds cheesy, but it’s true! To my fellow graduates I would like to say; we did it! After four years of attending this small mountain town school, we are finally graduating!! My advice to incoming high schoolers would be to get involved and enjoy the company around you.

My plan for this fall is to attend Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs and join the sustainability management program. The reason I chose Steamboat is because it’s incredibly beautiful yet simple, and in addition to that I’ll be saving money and making sure that a secondary education is for me. In 15 years I see myself owning my own organization to help run and make voluntary trips to developing countries.

My main goal in life is to teach and try and help stabilize people’s homes, family, health, water, food supply, etc. I want people to understand and realize that certain things they do hugely impact the Earth, and that change is absolutely necessary to help stabilize the environment. 15 years from now, hopefully I’ll be married and have two kids. I hope to be living a beautiful and honest life while helping people thrive in their daily life.

The coolest thing I’ve ever done would have to be going on Junior River Trip with some of my classmates for a week, since our trip was full of learning, developing new friendships and enjoying each other’s company. The trip taught me so much more than I already knew about myself and my fellow classmates. The thing I love to do the most is definitely singing, poetry & being anywhere outside!


Favorite animal/insect: Cats, baby goats, butterflies and bees.
Favorite band: EDEN, Vance Joy, The Lumineers, Lorde, Post Malone, Dan & Shay, and Florence & The Machine.
Favorite movie: The Dead Poets Society
Favorite book: Pride & Prejudice, looking for Alaska, and flux.

It’s a Wrap

This is our last run of stories in the Class of 2018 Senior Spotlight series.  We want to thank everyone who shared their story. This concept was an idea brought forward by a very special student that I was able to hangout with and mentor this year. I know she will do great things in her journey. I wanted to share her story because it is rich in life and full of passion. Thank you River Lathers for being a part of our life.

We would like to thank the McConnell Family for helping pay for the ink to bring this series to life.  We would also like to thank the After Prom committee for donating their time and energy to this project.  In this business, a little bit goes a long way.